Jabra Elite 85t, super versatile TWS ANC earphones | Review

Jabra Elite 85t, super versatile TWS ANC earphones | Review
The Elite 85t from Jabra are a pair of True Wireless earphones with ANC, i.e. with active noise cancellation. We tell you right away that they offer high-end performance, are very ergonomic, and active noise cancellation works very well. These earphones can clash on equal terms with the Apple AirPods Pro or the Huawei FreeBuds Pro, and in some cases they are also preferred over these models.

How they are made

Jabra has not changed the design of its TWS earphones series, in fact we find a case very similar to all previous models, such as the Elite 75t, and this means small, light and easily transportable. It is not flashy, and it doesn't have to be, and the only breaking element is the USB-C port in the center of the rear surface. The "Jabra" logo is almost visible on the front, and a small multicolored LED is seen only when it lights up.

The lid is secured by a magnetic closure, and once opened the two small earphones pop out of the appropriate housings for more than half of their height. This means that it is possible to easily grasp them between the fingers and bring them to the ears in complete safety, better than what can be done with many other models that do not offer an optimal grip force us to be careful or force us to make precise gestures when extracting them. . A magnetic system draws them into place when we put them away.

The design of the earphones is of the in-ear type, not that different from the previous models, but the 85t have a more elongated neck of the earphones. This allows them to be inserted slightly deeper into the ear, in order to better block the ear canal and achieve superior passive isolation. The silicone earphones are equipped with a small protection that prevents earwax from reaching the speaker grille.

The outer surface of both earbuds is a button, so Jabra has again opted for a physical input sending system, rather than a touch-sensitive surface or internal sensors that detect touches. It's a risky choice, but once again the button mechanism is very precise and soft, you won't need much force to send the input, and you won't risk pushing the headset all the way into your ear.

The connectivity is Bluetooth 5.1 (after firmware update), and allow you to connect to two devices at the same time. A sensor allows you to understand when you have worn or removed the headset from your ear.

They are IPX4 certified, so it won't be a problem if they take a few drops of water, but it is not advisable to use them for sports.

Excellent ANC performance

Active noise cancellation technologies have now reached levels that many manufacturers offer high performance TWS ANC earphones, and the Elite 85t are no different. The ability to reduce surrounding noise is very good, and the difference from the top in the industry is difficult to detect; if there is, it is a question of nuances.

Fortunately the design of these earphones fits very well in the ear and allows to occlude the ear canal effectively, offering passive isolation without which the ANC would not have the desired effect. The surprising thing is that they manage to obtain this result without being big and without using a "rotating" attachment system, such as the one for example of the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds which ensures excellent grip and insulation, but is also more tiring for the ear.

We must obviously be cautious and specify that this is the experience we had in our test, because depending on the type of ears you have you may be able to wear them better or worse. The package contains three headphones of different sizes.

The ANC can be selected on 11 different levels, at least this is what Jabra claims. The only way to change the intervention level is from the application, which however allows you to select only five levels. In any case, as usually happens, we do not believe that having multiple levels of noise reduction is a real added value, since in most cases you want to activate or deactivate the function, not adjust the level of effectiveness (always aiming for the maximum level ).

Clicking on the left earphone button activates the ANC or switches to Hear Through mode, which is an audio transparency mode that uses microphones to eliminate passive isolation and allows you to hear noises around us, or conversing with a person without removing the earphones. It is interesting to have the possibility of adjusting the effectiveness of this mode, again on five levels. In practice, the higher the level, the more the sound detected by the microphones and introduced into the earphones will be amplified. The experience you have by setting the maximum level will be very similar to that offered by other headsets equipped with this function, and this means listening to a surrounding sound that is higher than it actually is; sometimes it is useful, but this involves a continuous background rustle. By bringing the intervention of the Hear Through function to a minimum, the background noise is totally eliminated and an equally efficient and more natural transparency is obtained.

The application is finally useful

Not it's easy to find an application that is truly useful in the world of TWS earphones, or that goes beyond the basic functions. Jabra Sound +, with the Elite 85t, is instead useful and can offer interesting additional functions.

In addition to updating the firmware, it is possible to customize the buttons and the behavior of the headphones. For example, you can decide what should happen to music playback when you enter the Hear Through mode or when you remove them from your ear. You can match different behaviors to the buttons, based on what you press, how many times (up to three) and if you keep it pressed.

You can adjust the level of noise cancellation, Hear Through or turn off the ANC , as well as saving three presets of these levels for quick recall. There is a five-band equalizer, presets and even the ability to change presets or create others.

You can also start background sounds by choosing from 12 different sounds, from nature sounds (rain, waves , waterfall, etc) with pink and white noise, and others. These noise masking sounds, combined with ANC and passive isolation, allow us to completely exclude ourselves from the surrounding environment.

The main screen of the application itself is customizable, treating the various sections as panels of widgets that can be reordered.

Battery life

Bose promises five and a half hours of autonomy per single charge, and we confirm this fact, indeed it is possible to go even a little further. This is achieved with ANC active, and is a very good result. The case allows for further recharging approximately four times. With 15 minutes of charging you will get about an hour of battery life.

The case is compatible with the QI wireless charging technology, or alternatively just plug in the USB-C. h2> Audio quality The Jabra Elite 85t offer a warm sound, with full-bodied bass (too much), mids undertone and a bit too bright highs (Max Roach - Lonesome Lover, the saxophone becomes annoying at times). In other words we have an unbalanced downward rendering, which isn't so bad if you like listening to music with nice vibrant bass, but we can't say the response is linear.

Fortunately there is the equalizer that allows you to improve the situation. It does not solve it completely, but by increasing the mid frequencies a little and decreasing the highs, the situation improves.

Can (Spoon) is a very rhythmic track with many overlapping instruments, not easy to manage. In this case they fare fairly well, the deep and vibrant bass doesn't help much in precisely distinguishing all the nuances. The dynamic (George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue) is good, probably lacking a bit of speed (The Chemical Brothers - Das Spiegel), but nothing tragic. The balance problems jump to the ear with tracks like "The National Anthem - Radiohead", where in some places the track becomes a cacophony with difficulty in distinguishing between all the instruments. In short, it could have been done a little better. If you listen to rhythmic, pop music and like to hear strong, vibrant bass, you will love it.

The six microphones, used for noise cancellation, also do a great job of capturing our voice. This means that you will be able to make very clear and high quality calls. During the test we asked our interlocutors several times how they heard our voice, and the answer was always “very good”.


The Jabra Elite 85t are excellent True Wireless earphones with ANC. They cost 229 euros, less than the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds, but more than the FreeBuds Pro, Sony WF-1000XM3 or even the AirPods Pro.

Of all the top of the range they are probably the most comfortable, thanks to weight and design . The case is also among the smallest, and the autonomy with ANC active on a single charge is at the top of the category. They are also the most customizable and the application has an edge.

If all you are looking for is a pair of TWS ANC earphones that offer good noise canceling performance, then you can save money with one of the models quoted by the lowest price. If, on the other hand, you want a complete, customizable product, with good autonomy, versatility and noise cancellation capabilities, consider the Jabra Elite 85t. We want to reward this model with our own Award for its versatility and mix of excellent features, despite not being the best in terms of audio quality.

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